Images for Bloggers
As a blogger, we need images all the time! Images for social media, images for blog titles and Pinterest pins, images for so many things! The question is where do you get them from? There are a few schools of thought here: You have a few options.
- Photograph your own images
- Buy images
- Use free images
Let’s look at the perks and pitfalls of all three:
Photograph your own images
I’m not a photographer. Sometimes, I’ll get lucky and take a good photo, but for the most part, I don’t have the skills to frame a photo, use the correct lighting or settings or the patience to figure it all out. I also don’t have the time to set up all of the different shots I need to use on my blog and website. Then we have editing – I have no idea where to begin on that one. Additionally, I use my phone camera 90% of the time, which has limitations.
The perks with photographing your own images are that you won’t come across anyone else on the web with the same photo as you. You can create shots that work for YOUR branding and image and aren’t stuck with the images for bloggers available from other photo sources.
Buy Images for Bloggers – Photo Sites
This is a great option if a) you can find sites that have images you frequently use and b) you have a budget to buy images. There are a number of great sources where you can buy images for bloggers. The pitfalls are that you are limited to what is available. Need a woman in a blue dress sitting in church to match your branding? Need a flat lay with pink, yellow and orange? Well, you may or not be able to find what you need. Then of course, is the price. If you have a limited budget or no budget at all, this excludes most options here.
The positives of buying images include:
- Less chance of someone else using the same graphic (it still happens, but way less frequently)
- Huge selection to choose from
- Saves time as photos are ready for immediate download
- Many sites that offer images for bloggers come with releases for models already signed (no having to get permission to use an image)
- Variety of pricing options (buy as you need them or buy a package that allows so many downloads per month).
- Images are usually very high quality
Some great sites for images for bloggers:
Depositphotos (huge selection, reasonable price)
Buy Images for Bloggers – Hire a Photographer
If you are looking for images unique to you and your brand and have the budget for it, hiring a photographer is a great choice. Of course, you will want to see previous work (the portfolio) of the photographers that you are considering. Does their style represent you? Do they product high-quality work? The major pitfalls here are price (it can be very expensive to hire a photographer to take photos for custom images), time (you’ll often need to wait days or weeks to get the photos edited and returned to you) and supply (you will regularly need to hire someone to always have fresh photos to use for your blog).
Positives for hiring a photographer for images:
- Photos unique to you – no one else will have them
- Can have them created to exactly match your brand colors and feel
- It adds credibility to your brand (especially when photographing prior/current customers using your product or service)
- Adds another creative person to your team who may have great ideas for shots needed to represent your brand
Ashly McHatton, Professional Photographer what specializes in Personal Branding and Creative Portraits says “Hiring a professional helps to ensure that not only that you look, feel, and have a great experience, but that your brand’s message along with your personality truly is communicated. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ so it’s important that each image is communicating the right story/message”
Larissa Rolley, another established photographer, shared “Everything posted on the website should be cohesive and convey your message, from choice of color, font and images. Images include the photos of you, the banner any flat lays you use. The benefits of hiring a photographer for custom images are like your logo: unique and recognizable. Depending on your budget, there are lots of other resources out there if you are just starting your business. I recommend that people use those until they have the money and know the esthetic they want. Yes, it may not be as original or unique, but the key is don’t overspend here when you are just starting out.”
Use Free Sites
There are several popular free photo sites that are popular for finding images for bloggers. As with any of the above options, using free sites for images has its pros and cons. The cons include: a greater chance that others will be using the same images and copyright/release issues. Unfortunately, there are some shady people out there. Many of the free sites are “stealing” images and these images do not have model releases nor copyright protection. You can get in big trouble if you use an image that is not protected by these – even if you had no idea that the site didn’t have permission to use them. In addition, sometimes the quality isn’t as high on the free sites.
Positive for using free sites for images:
- Um, they are free!
- Variety of images to choose from
- Free images are often provided free of licensing requirements and few restrictions. The trend is towards offering photos using Creative Commons licensing which determines whether an image can be used for personal or commercial purposes, and whether or not the photographer requires attribution (credit). (but beware that many are not and fall under the pitfalls mentioned above.
Some popular sites for free images:
The only one above that I have used is Unsplash. The quality of photos is good, but the variety is very limited.
Professional photographer, Amy Eaton explained the issues with using free images: “There are two issues that you’ll run into when using free stock images. First, a lot of people use them and the more popular ones are becoming recognizable as frequently used free stock photos. Therefore it comminicates the message that you’re not willing to invest in your brand. If you’re not willing to invest in you, why should others? And second, your images provide a very unique and valuable opportunity to send a message about your brand identity. Usually the first time someone comes into contact with your brand online, it’s through your images. You have about 5 seconds to make a damn good impression and be memorable. Generic free stock photos, no matter how good, are not going to do that for you. Strongly branded, beautiful custom images will”
Overall, before you decide which way to go you’ll need to determine your budget and your needs.
I use a combination of my own photos and paid images (Depositphotos). What works for you may not be the right answer for someone else.
Until Next Time,
For a comparison of WordPress vs Blogger when setting up your blog, check out this article.